About a decade ago, Nicole Hummell broke out as Zola Jesus, channeling an Eastern European-tinged gothic tragedy behind her strong voice, successfully keeping from falling into over-the-top gothic with albums like 2011’s Conatus (QRO review). While she hasn’t hugely grown since then, and by now her voice sounds a bit reminiscent of other, bigger female singers, she still delivers her gothic tragedy on Okovi.
While Okovi opens and closes with gothic wash in “Doma” and “Half Life”, respectively, its strongest portion is in the middle, where Hummell goes full-on grandeur on tracks like “Siphon”. Yes, she sounds a little like a more downbeat Florence & The Machine or more artsy Adele, but those are great artists, too. Penultimate track “Remains” adds a press to her sound, giving more variety that is needed on this record.
Okovi isn’t going to break Hummell & Zola Jesus out of her gothic-tragedy box, but could get new fans of the style to her, as well as satisfying those who already love her.